NC Professor To Testify During EPA's Public Hearing On Coal Ash Rules

NC Professor To Testify During EPA's Public Hearing On Coal Ash Rules

3:40pm Oct 01, 2019
A large coal pile at Duke Energy's Belews Creek Steam Station plant in Stokes County. KERI BROWN/WFDD

The Environmental Protection Agency is holding a public hearing Wednesday on proposed changes to coal ash regulations. The measures would rollback some federal rules on how to dispose and store the waste.

The agency says that this will give utilities more flexibility to recycle the industrial waste, while still protecting the environment. For example, the changes would keep safeguards in place near vulnerable areas, like wetlands.

But environmentalists say extra protective steps are needed no matter where the ash is stored because it contains toxic substances and heavy metals that leach into groundwater.

Dr. Avner Vengosh of Duke University will testify at the hearing. He says he will present research showing the legacy coal ash contamination has already had on the environment.

“These restrictions could have a higher risk for water resources, for human health, and for those people living in nearby areas where coal ash is being placed or disposed,” says Vengosh.

The EPA will also hold a second public hearing online on October 10 to gather input on the proposed changes.

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